New Delhi: Several big political parties such as the Congress and BJP collect a huge amount of money from donations but it's difficult to know about the donors. While protesting against bringing them under the RTI, the parties claim they give all details about donations to the income tax department. But the truth is that the parties don't provide any information about 80 to 90 per cent of their donors.
Legally, only the names and details of a donor who has given more than Rs 20,000 has to be given to the authorities and parties take advantage of it. So the Congress and BJP are protesting against a Central Information Commission decision that brings political parties under the RTI and to also give details about their earnings and expenses.
Between 2009-11 period, the Congress party earned almost Rs 750 crore out of which Rs 500 crore were from selling party coupons. While the party got Rs 111 .73 crore from donations, it earned Rs 44.11 crore from interest. Interestingly, the party got only 12 per cent of the donations that was above Rs 20,000 and about which the party must give the details of the donors. So the party has not declared how it got approximately Rs 600 crore.
Legally, only the names and details of a donor who has given more than Rs 20,000 has to be given to the authorities.
Even the BJP has not been any different. The party earned Rs 425 crore during the 2009-11 period out of which Rs 300 crore was from voluntary donations. Approximately Rs 30 crore was as lifelong contribution fund and Rs 3 crore from interest. The party got just 22 per cent of the money from donors who gave more than Rs 20,000.
Experts say that political parties fear that they are brought under the RTI, then they will have to share details bout their earnings. Between 2010 and 2011 the Congress received only Rs 20,000 or more from only 417 donors while 502 donations made to the BJP were above the Rs 20,000 mark. AIADMK, Shiromani Akali Dal and BSP got no single donations above Rs 20,000.
But despite this all parties are claiming that their account books are clean. While they are ready to take on each other over trivial issues, the threat of bring brought under the RTI has united them. Only the CPI has welcomed the CIC order to bring political parties under the RTI.